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Foodie Engineer: Week 7 All Things Fried

Foodie Engineer: Week 7 All Things Fried

This week was mostly about “All Things Fried”.  You name it we fried it, or else we will fry it soon.  After last weeks sautéing, we finished up with a little bit more sautéing with fish.  I broke down the sole and cooked it with […]

Foodie Engineer:  Week 6, Now We Cook

Foodie Engineer: Week 6, Now We Cook

The weekend started with completing our first Practical Exam.  The exam that I had to cook broccoli soup, make mayonnaise by hand, and dice potatoes to get 20 pieces as perfect as possible 1/2inch x1/2inch cubes. The Verdict (The Practical) Well, I didn’t get a […]

Soup to Nuts

Soup to Nuts

Week 5 was awesome.  We got the results of the 2 exams that we took, and I got a 98% and 95%.   We focused on making  modern sauces, and a delicious broccoli soup.

We started with practicing our dicing of course, but we also got to make mayonnaise again, to  prepare for our practical exam, more to come on that.

Modern Sauces

We played with agar agar, and xanthum gum.  Agar agar is a plant based alternative to gelatin, and xanthan gum helps thicken.  I made fluid gel with black currant puree, a tomato coulis and basil oil.  I think all of these techniques and sauces are going to help me step my plating game up even more.

apricot gel, agar agar, xanthun gum, puree

Chef walked us through making broccoli soup, and it was so tasty.  He is like Mr. Miyagi training Daniel-son.  Remember Karate Kid, how Mr. Miyagi ran Daniel-son through all of these ridiculous assignments, and then put them all together to create a strong fighter?  That is how I felt when we made the broccoli soup.  In making the broccoli soup, we had to make the roux, into velouté sauce that required stock that we made.  Then we had to blanch and shock broccoli to blend smoothly in the soup, and flavor to taste.  It just all comes together.

broccoli soup, creamy, veloute

Chicken Consommé

The final thing that we made was a chicken consommé.  For something so elegant, the way to make it was crazy, but I just followed chef “Miyagi”.  Consommé is a very clear soup.  To make it we had to mix in a food processor, raw ground chicken, egg whites, eggshells, tomato paste, and mirepoix (carrots, onions, celery).  You then add this mixture to hot stock, and wait for the mix to rise like a raft on the surface.  So you call the gross mixture of raw chicken, egg whites, egg shells etc. a raft.  Once it floated to the top, we had to ladle out the clear liquid, consommé.

Pay no attention to the spelling of the consomme on the stove, the label served its purpose.

Week 6 will start with all sorts of tests and trials.  We have a written exam, and also a practical (hands on) exam.  Half of the class will be taking the written while the other half are in the kitchen.  The practical exam includes making the broccoli soup, the mayonnaise, and dice a potato….ALL IN AN HOUR.  I’ll let you know how I do next post.  Don’t forget to comment if you have questions, or anything from the peanut gallery to add.

Week 4 Let’s Get Saucy

Week 4 Let’s Get Saucy

Week 4 was lit! From the exam, to the rabbit fabrication to FINALLY cooking something for real. I mean we each were cooking in our own pot on our own burner. Exam 2 So, can I just say, I know I killed that exam? I […]

Week 3 Fish and Meat Fabrication

Week 3 Fish and Meat Fabrication

Wow week 3, fish and meat fabrication was so much fun. I can see how each week is building on each other. We started with cutting medium diced vegetables, and then making those vegetables into a vegetable fumet, or vegetable stock. Now we learn to […]

Week 2 Stock or Broth

Week 2 Stock or Broth

 

Week 2 started with a drive back into the city.  I love to get in early and walk thru the empty halls of this awesome facility.  Setting up my station and the even the dish washing station gives me a thrill.  Call me corny, but what I realize is that each time I learn something, I get so excited, even if I am struggling with it, I am smiling thru every bit of it.

I was able to get a lot of studying done for my first exam, traveling back from Florida for my day job.  With the threat of the Nor’easter I was determined to get back home early.  So rather than get on my flight that Friday morning, I went to the airport Thursday at 4:00PM and waited for a 7:40PM flight to be sure I would be in class on time.  I made the flight, although it took me to JFK instead of Newark, but whatever, I dodged the storm.  I took my exam on food safety and herb identification on time with my class and we will see the outcome this week when we get our grades back.

Blanched broccoli, potato puree, mashed potato Week 2 Stock or Broth
Bad photo, I know, but I was so excited at school, I forgot to capture it. I’ll do better going forward.

Stock or Broth

Since we are medium dicing everything in site, this week we used the scraps of the potatoes to make mashed potatoes, or potato puree.  We learned that you have to cook the potatoes past where you think you should.  Cook them until they are mush, and then you add butter and cream.  This was the first thing we actually were able to cook and prepare in class.  I used the food mill for the first time, that was exciting.  I was surprised our chef instructor didn’t give us a recipe.  Rather, he told us we were learning about taste, and not a specific recipe, so I went to town.   I can tell, I am going to need to add more salt than I think in my recipes, because I thought my puree was pretty good, but once I put more salt in as chef instructed…new level.Week 2 Stock or Broth vegetable fumetFirst fish fabrication Week 2 Stock or Broth

I was so excited to learn how to break down and “fabricate” fish.  I was less grossed out than I expected, and I can’t wait to practice again.  I learned what a fumét is, its a stock.  We learned how to use all of the vegetable scraps (except potatoes, no starches in stocks), and once we broke down the fish we used the heads and bones to turn the vegetable fumét into fish fumét (click the link for the James Beard recipe), fancy right?

Culinary Management
Culinary Management course Week 2 Stock or Broth

Finally,  one of the unexpected highlights was the Culinary Management class.  The 4 hour lecture was a great surprise in understanding the importance of good leadership in your business.  What we learned about leadership reinforced the skills and tools that I sharpen daily in my day job.  I am excited that that skillset will be helpful in my culinary dreams.  I think Culinary Management course work will be in my future.

As I write this I am preparing to head to the city for week 3, and I am so excited to see what is next to learn this week.  If you missed the beginning of this journey, please take a look at my week 1 post

Culinary School – Week 1

Culinary School – Week 1

  The Night Before I could barely sleep the night before.  I spent what seemed like hours figuring out my train ride, only to decide I would drive.  I laid out my jacket, pants, hat, ugly/comfy shoes, and apron.  I put my tool kit in […]

Institute of Culinary Education, Here I Come

Institute of Culinary Education, Here I Come

This week starts one of the most exciting chapters of my life.  I will warn you that many of my future blog posts will be about, my journey of pursuing this dream of attending culinary school, or what I made, or had to endure in […]

Cafe Tallulah is Paris in New York

Cafe Tallulah is Paris in New York

My friends and I recently played tourist through New York City, and we stumbled upon a great eatery for brunch called, Cafe Tallulah, click here to view the restaurant website.  This place made me think I was playing tourist in Paris.  We ate in the dining room area on the ground floor, but I look forward to going back to enjoy drinks and the cocktail lounge downstairs.  Walking downstairs was as if you were stepping back in time, with the antiques, and velvet curtains.

What We Ordered

Le Burger with Pommes Frites

Croque Madame

Tallulah Pancake

Frisee Salad

Le Burger

A perfectly cooked medium rare burger, hit the spot, after walking the city all day, and the fries were perfect.

Croque Madame

The Croque Madame was so tasty, the creamy bechamel and the runny egg over the crispy bread was perfect.  I will definitely try to duplicate this recipe for my next house guests, because making this a staple item in my kitchen will not be a good thing for my health. 

The pancakes were the thickest fluffiest pancakes I have ever seen.  These things were like an inch thick.

Frisee salad

The salad was perfectly dressed and the lardons of bacon were plentiful.

I feel silly talking about a salad, burger, and grilled cheese as if it is was the best thing served in New York City.  However, my friends and I throughly enjoyed every morsel of this spread.

Green Chef Recipe Kit at Your Service

Green Chef Recipe Kit at Your Service

Green Chef I have to admit, I turned my nose up at the idea of Green Chef, and all of the similar services.  I really enjoy every part of cooking, well except cleaning.  But the point is, the fact that everything is portioned for you, […]


My Diary

Dream Big and Live on Purpose – Foodie Engineer

Dream Big and Live on Purpose – Foodie Engineer


desires, dream, dream big, dreams, follow, goal, goals, Passion, pursue, pursuit

Dream Big

Have you ever woke up one day or just began to get clarity about your life’s purpose or better yet, your passion?

Let me back up by saying this post is not really about a particular recipe, or even a particular food experience.  This post is more about ensuring that you decide early to pursue your passion.

I’ve been an engineer for 12 years working for the same company.  The work has taken me to different places in the US, taught me a ton about dealing with different personalities, and problem solving.  And it has also helped me find what I truly have passion for.  When I moved away and out of my parents house, I was forced into a kitchen that I really hadn’t had a great deal of interest in, so I thought.  Throughout high-school, I worked at a rotisserie chicken joint, and learned a ton about prepping, but at that point, I just liked making money.  But when I had to begin to cook for myself I began to try different recipes, and I began to challenge myself to improve my skills.

I say all of that to say that on my journey to grow into a big time leader within the company I have worked for, for over a decade (wow, that is a long time), I had a moment of clarity, well several moments of clarity, that I have a passion that I can not ignore, for food, and everything surrounding it.  I want to encourage those not sure of their passion to search for it, and once you find it, you have a couple choices.

Choice #1

Drop everything and follow your passion with reckless abandon… ummm that is good, and works for many, but I have never been a huge risk taker, and I think that has served me well in life thus far.

Choice #2

Study your passion, and commit to dedicating the time to make it a larger part of your life, all while ensuring that you learn everything that there is to learn, in your current career.  Move up that corporate ladder and increase your understanding of your purpose, and your lessons in your main career.  This is more my speed, while I have a total passion for food, I have a passion for challenges.  Challenging myself to climb as high as I can in my corporate career provides me a certain level of excitement.  And the stability that it provides in my life and to my lifestyle, certainly doesn’t hurt as well.

The important thing is that you recognize the signs and those clarifying moments that reveal your passion and purpose.  Its not important to make money on your passion, but it is important that you feed it in some way that allows you to acknowledge it and not turn your back on it.  There is nothing like getting so caught up with life that you turn around and regret that you didn’t dedicate the time you could have to pursue your life’s passion.

Dream Big, and Live Bigger

 

2 years after this original post, watch my pursuit of my passion Dream Chasing.  February will begin, then next chapter.  Stay tuned..


Dining Out

Foodie Engineer:  Week 6, Now We Cook

Foodie Engineer: Week 6, Now We Cook

The weekend started with completing our first Practical Exam.  The exam that I had to cook broccoli soup, make mayonnaise by hand, and dice potatoes to get 20 pieces as perfect as possible 1/2inch x1/2inch cubes. The Verdict (The Practical) Well, I didn’t get a […]

Cafe Tallulah is Paris in New York

Cafe Tallulah is Paris in New York

My friends and I recently played tourist through New York City, and we stumbled upon a great eatery for brunch called, Cafe Tallulah, click here to view the restaurant website.  This place made me think I was playing tourist in Paris.  We ate in the dining […]

Foodie Engineer: Project Eats In Jersey City Outing

Foodie Engineer: Project Eats In Jersey City Outing

I recently took a quick ride to Jersey City for the Project Eats event.  Project Eats is a family friendly, outdoor food truck and food vendor event.  After a great workout at the gym, I enjoyed a few tasty bites at the Project Eats Event.  This […]

10Below Ice Cream on a Whim

10Below Ice Cream on a Whim

  Am I the only one that feels like a great meal is incomplete without something sweet, like ice cream?  The other night after an awesome meal at a cookout in Mount Vernon, I reluctantly asked my friend if we could take a detour on […]

Montclair Red Eye

Montclair Red Eye

I love Montclair, New Jersey.  Man, I sure wish I explored the area more before I moved to Georgia.  Luckily, I still get a chance to visit the area.  Recently I had breakfast plans at one of the other restaurants in the area, and when […]